Holidays and Festivals in Turkmenisan

novruz festival

Turkmen toy invites!

Your travel to Turkmenistan will become vivid and memorable if you attend a celebration (in Turkmen ‘toy’) dedicated to a national festive event. There are a lot of them in this hospitable and welcoming country.

Novruz Festival

One of the brightest and impressive festive events is Novruz, which is celebrated as the national spring festival in Turkmenistan on March 21-22. The main celebrations are traditionally held in the suburbs of Ashgabat in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, on the Novruz yaylasy site with a building in the form of a huge yurt – Turkmenin ak oyi. Every year in March, a whole town, including in yurts, farmsteads, gardens, workshops, oriental bazaar, exhibition showrooms, stages for theatrical performances, bakhshis and other musicians, dancers and singers, is erected at the venue. The grandiose folklore and ethnographic performance demonstrates the art of carpet weaving, horse breeding, the traditions associated with animal husbandry, gardening, and agriculture. Ancient artefacts are presented in museum exhibitions here; and everyone can take part in the national games, see the best specimen of applied art, and sample delicious dishes that reflect fertility of the Turkmen land, prosperity of Turkmenistan, and hospitality of its people.

One of the oldest festive events in the world – Novruz is inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Read more

Symbol of Novruz
Novruz festival

Other national festive events are no less impressive, with the cultural programme complemented by solemn meetings, art exhibitions, scientific conferences and concerts.

Ahalteke horse festival

Heavenly horses, preservation and development of the ancient national equestrian traditions are cherished with special reverence in Turkmenistan. The Ahalteke horses represent national pride and great treasure, created by the Turkmen people over the centuries. Numerous exhibitions, concerts, various competitions, including in the International Ahalteke Horse Beauty Contest, are held on last Sunday in April. Ashgabat hosts the International Ahalteke Horse Breeding Association Conference on Turkmen Horse Day. However, the most spectacular event is horse races involving the magnificent Ahalteke horses. The festive programme also includes a 60-kilometre marathon and show jumping competitions. The winners receive large cash prizes; and the betting is open for spectators.

The faithful friend of the Turkmen people – the loyal and smart alabay is honoured on the same day, since 2021. This dog breed has a history of over 5000 years. This fact is proved by archaeological findings – the statues of alabay.

Turkmen Carpet day

Another traditional folk art – carpet weaving – has a history of over 5000 years. Turkmen Carpet Day (last Sunday in May) is an embodiment of the loyalty of the Turkmen people to cherishing historical values and original traditions. True admirers of this ancient art come to Ashgabat for a conference of the World Association of Connoisseurs of Turkmen Handmade Carpets held that day. A huge number of impressive exhibitions, folklore and ethnographic performances captivate the guests of the country.

Harvest Day

Another national festive event, Harvest Day, celebrated on second Sunday in November, is notable for noisy celebrations. Everything the Turkmen land is rich in, namely, cotton, wheat and freshly baked in a tamdyr (national oven) flatbread, and other national dishes and delicacies, is showcased at the festive exhibitions. The guests will be impressed by a wide range of watermelons, melons, pumpkins, fruits, vegetables, berries and fresh herbs, which are sold in shopping centres and markets of the country all year round. No one can resist the temptation to taste the most delicious melons. However, if you travel to Turkmenistan to taste this paradise fruit, then you shouldn't wait for November. Melon season begins in the middle of summer, and true connoisseurs do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the taste of its summer varieties.

nisa blooming flower
Ahalteke horse festival
Harvest Day

There are many other festive events in Turkmenistan, including in the public, national, international and professional holidays. The main festive event of the country – Independence Day is celebrated on September 27. This is the most significant holiday in terms of its scope and cultural programme. It combines the national festive events, includes a demonstration, a military parade, concerts of popular singers, folklore, ethnographic, theatrical performances and various exhibitions. The latter highlight the achievements of today's Turkmenistan and the most valuable objects from the country's museums. The festive event comprises mass celebrations and shows in the spirit of the big Turkmen toy.

Watch and take part in a great festive event, feel the atmosphere of celebration and hospitality, discover the beauty of national traditions in Turkmenistan! Welcome to the Turkmen toy!

National holidays, festive events and memorable dates in Turkmenistan

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • January 27 – Defenders of the Fatherland Day
  • February 18 – Diplomatic Workers’ Day
  • March 8 – International Women's Day
  • March 21-22 Novruz (national spring festival)
  • April 7 – World Health Day
  • Last Sunday in April – Turkmen Horse and Turkmen Alabay Day
  • May 9 – Victory Day
  • May 18 – State Flag and Constitution Day
  • May 25 – Ashgabat City Day
  • Last Sunday in May – Turkmen Carpet Day
  • June 1 – International Children's Day
  • June 3 – World Bicycle Day
  • June 5 – World Environment Day
  • June 12 – Science Day
  • June 27 – Day of Workers of Culture and Art, and the Poetry of Magtymguly
  • September 1 – Knowledge and Student Youth Day
  • Second Saturday in September – Construction, Energy and Utilities Workers Day
  • September 27 – Independence Day
  • October 1 – International Day of Older Persons
  • October 6 – Day of Remembrance
  • October 10 – Healthcare and Medical Industry Workers Day
  • Third Sunday in October – Industrial Workers Day
  • Second Sunday in November – Harvest Day
  • December 12 – International Day of Neutrality
  • December 14 – Day of the Workers in the Oil and Gas Industry and Geology
  • December 21 – Day of Remembrance of the First President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov
  • Oraza Bayramy (Ramadan) – a specific date is annually determined
  • Gurban Bayramy (Eid Mubarak) – a specific date is annually determined
Novruz festival